Often athletics is a large part of the experience that many people look back on when reminiscing about the good ol’ days of high school: from making the team as a freshman, to leading the team to a title as a junior or senior, and for a select few, to turning the high school years of practice into playing a sport in college. After college, you may play a sport in a recreational league like volleyball, basketball, or softball. I was like most athletes. I played basketball in high school, wanted to play in college, and dreamed of going pro someday. But that didn’t happen. So I played on my fair share of recreational leagues, but in my mid 20’s, I took up golf. I was horrible, yet started to fall in love with the game. It was hard and frustrating but that was the draw. I wasn’t good because I’m tall, I wasn’t good because I was stronger than the guy next to me, I wasn’t good because I could run faster; I had to work to make myself better through hard work and dedication. Whatever amount of athleticism I have, golf was the ultimate humbler.
Now why share that story? As I have played thousands of rounds of golf with men and women of all ages, I hear the same story: “I wish I played as a kid.” Golf is a sport you can play forever and it’s an individual sport as well. You have yourself and the course and that is the challenge – overcoming the mental and physical nature of 18 holes. The sport has hit a wall in growth with young men and women who are not getting out and playing. I have coached golf for five years altogether and every year I receive very few emails from coaches looking for boys to play college golf, but I get at least 5 or more emails from coaches looking for girls to play. Here are the reasons I think everyone should golf, and especially girls.
- Golf is one of the safest sports you can ever play. There is no contact with other players; it’s just you, your club, and the ball. Safety is still important but risks are minimal; you have to be careful not to hit the ball at someone.
- Golf is a lifetime sport that is very social. Whatever field you end up in, golfing is a great activity for networking. The business, law, and medical worlds have many events that are tied to golf. Even at MPA we have the Golf Fore Scholarship every year to raise money for MPA scholarships.
- Golf could lead to scholarships and aid with the cost of college. There are a decent amount of scholarships available for good golfers (boys or girls). The NCAA Division 1 and 2 level offer full and partial scholarships and NAIA Division 1 and 2 offer full athletic scholarships.
- Golf coaches are always looking for golfers, girls specifically, that can shoot close to par. Girls teams are so small, if you can shoot in the 90s, you may get a full or partial scholarship.
- Golf is easy to compare because the score is easy to compare with other golfers’. If you look to play at a college whose golfers score in the 80s, and you are in the 90s, logically, that school might not be the best fit.
- Golf is fun, and you’re outside. Once you commit to learning the game and getting lessons, it becomes very enjoyable. I won’t lie; at the beginning it can be quite frustrating, but the sport teaches patience and hard work.
At MPA we have a golf team in our Upper School. We are getting better all the time but I would love the chance to offer a boys’ team and a girls’ team. I know golf is not always the most popular sport for young people in high school, but ask your parents, aunts, or uncles that play and they without a doubt will tell you. “I wish I played golf in high school instead of ________.”
By Daniel Peters
Mr. Peters teaches Middle School social studies and coaches basketball and golf. He also is Middle School assistant principal and our curriculum leader for physical education.